This design means the SteelSeries Arctis Pro sits tightly on the head, while the deep earcups manage to successfully block out a lot of surrounding environmental noise. Though certainly not an active noise cancelling headset, it is one that reduces distractions significantly. We found that we were using mic sidetone settings here to be able to hear ourselves think while playing or listening to music if we had to talk to friends or family members, which is a testament to the quality.
If you’re looking for the best value for your money when getting a gaming headset, then you can’t do much better than the Steelseries Arctis 7. They are comfortable and well-built gaming headphones with a lot of connection options, making them suitable for most devices in your home. Their USB transmitter has a regular AUX input that will work with your TV, audio system and consoles.
Gaming headphones feature an over-ear design on almost all occasions in order to better accommodate their massive audio drivers. Higher-end offerings will help you take your gaming experience up a notch by offering support for DTS and Dolby Surround Sound standards, but we've also highlighted headsets that still sound superb without breaking the bank. We've sorted the best from the rest to find the best-sounding and most comfortable headsets available, and included picks for the PC and every major gaming console.
If the other devices on this list don't tickle your fancy or are out of your budget then there are others worth considering too. The Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless is certainly a headset worth looking at. It's not as pricey as some other wireless surround sound headsets out there, yet manages to deliver an excellent experience that you'd expect from Corsair.
The mic is equally good. We found voice capture with the mic to be clear, and we dig the minimalist design of the boom mic, which can be easily flipped up when not in use, or extended and bent for finding the optimal distance. As is often the case with Logitech gear, the headset has several neat idiosyncrasies, like a textured pad on the USB receiver for extra grip and internal “beeps” to inform you of volume changes, low battery levels, or mic enabling. It’s also, thankfully, devoid of any gaudy lights or “cool” decals, opting instead for a simpler and therefore more attractive aesthetic than most other headsets out there. While not necessarily groundbreaking, these are nice touches nonetheless.
“When I came across the SteelSeries Flux, I was in the market for a gaming headset that would fit my tiny head and also be comfortable. It also needed to work with my game systems and PC. My final criteria was that it needed to be inexpensive and still sound good. They are a good fit for my head and can be adjusted. The sound quality is nice, and it has a nice amount of bass, so you probably won’t have problems hearing explosions in games. The sound is also good for the directional aspects.”
With many desk phone models and softphone programs available, compatibility is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to selecting compatible headsets. Headsets Direct has numerous compatibility guides and resources to take the guesswork out of the selection process. We always ask our customers about personal preferences and their environment to ensure the headset fits perfectly for all-day wearing comfort, has excellent incoming and outgoing sound levels and quality, and meets the needs for maximum performance within the customer’s specific work environment. We have our popular Headsets 101 Guide available online, which is regularly updated, and each year we publish our Headset Buyer's Guide, displaying the best headset options for specific applications.
Wireless headsets are generally more suited to those there console boxes that sit beneath your TV so you can lounge around on your sofa without falling over a string of cables every time you get up to make a cuppa, but they’re also a good choice if you want to cut down on the warren of PC cables you’ve got building up behind the back of your case. Just bear in mind that you’ll still need a free USB port for their wireless transmitter or dongle, as well as somewhere to charge them when they run out of juice.
At the moment, there aren’t many viable solutions for in-game and voice chat with the Switch because Nintendo has gamers download a smartphone app for voice chatting. This means that the audio of your friends talking is separate from the in-game audio. To remedy this and combine the two audio streams, Nintendo sells a headset and adapter that comes with a trio of 3.5-millimeter aux cables. One cable goes from the Switch's headphone port to the dongle, one runs from your smartphone to the dongle, and the last one connects the dongle to your headset. It’s very complex, so we recommend just holding off until Nintendo releases a better headset — or an update that allows wireless headphones' microphones to work.
We arrived at this conclusion not just by testing this one headset, but by also conducting hands-on (or is it ears-on?) testing of pretty much every gaming headset available in every price category. We've tested everything from super basic sub-$50 models to ultra-fancy $400 kits and everything in between. Throughout our testing, we've spent countless hours gaming, listened to all kinds of music, recorded plenty of Skype calls to examine microphone quality, and even worn them at local coffee shops to see if other patrons would laugh at us or not.
What keeps it from being the stand-out winner are several annoyances. For starters, the A50 uses the 5GHz band, which means the range isn’t great. Even sitting at my computer, I occasionally noticed interference. A built-in battery also means that if you do forget to charge it, you’re stuck attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable while you play. And the audio, while quite good and superior to the Arctis Pro Wireless, still is easily outdone by $300 headphones. (Read our full review.)
In addition, the HyperX Cloud performed admirably when we fitted it with its mobile adapter cable and paired it with my iPhone. Bass-heavy tracks such as Björk’s “Hyperballad” and Beastie Boys’ “3-Minute Rule” have nuances in the lowest octaves that most game soundtracks simply don’t deliver, and this Kingston headset proved to be more than up to the task of delivering them faithfully.
Virtual reality, of course, represents a new kind of headset–a headset with a component that simulates the visual field. The technological development comes at a cost, however: being immersed in such a headset can cause severe motion sickness. It perhaps gives pause to consider that such things were the science-fiction dreams of many who lived not more than fifty or a hundred years ago…though lightsabers are still forthcoming.
Unfortunately, they can’t be used without the base station since they have no wired mode, and you must purchase the console specific variant of the A50s if you want them to work wirelessly with your PS4 or Xbox One. Their auto-off feature to save battery life is also a tad too aggressive and might be frustrating at times. However, despite these limitations, they are great wireless headphones for gaming that should please most gamers.
This is great if you already own lots of Hi-Res audio tracks or subscribe to something like Tidal, but as for gaming… it’s currently unknown how many, if any, actually support Hi-Res audio or whether you get any extra benefit over non-Hi-Res audio headsets. Personally, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Hi-Res and CD, and that’s after multiple demos and tech PRs doing their darnedest to convince me otherwise. As a result, it’s probably worth it if you’re into Hi-Res audio stuff outside of gaming, but don’t go paying extra if you’re only going to be using it for games.
Mobile headsets come in a range of wearing-styles, including behind-the-neck, over-the-head, over-the-ear, and lightweight earbuds. Some aftermarket mobile headsets come with a standard 2.5 mm plug different from the phone's audio connector, so users have to purchase an adapter. A USB headset for a computer also cannot be directly plugged into a phone's or portable media player's micro-USB slot. Smartphones often use a standard 3.5 mm jack, so users may be able to directly connect the headset to it. There are however different pin-alignment to the 3.5mm plug, mainly OMTP and CTIA, so user should find out which settings their device uses before buying a headphone/headset.
The ear cushions are large and fit well too. They're made from a microfiber mesh fabric backed with memory foam to provide comfort while gaming. We found this mesh fabric to be a little scratchy when compared with leather or other styled fabrics on the other headsets we've tested, but it did mean that we weren't suffering with issues from sweating or overheating during long gaming sessions.
That said, you’re going to get a lot more distance and freedom from a wireless headset, which makes them best for large living room setups where you’re going to be sitting on one side of the room and your console or PC is at the other. Keep an eye out for battery life ratin, as well. Most headsets can survive for at least a few straight hours of play, but there’s nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of an intense match to plug in your headset’s charging cable once the batteries are tapped.
Because of their detail they can be a little harsh on the high end, but that also makes them incredible with in-game audio. The open-backed nature of the Utopias means that any open-world game’s soundscape becomes hugely expansive. So often I’d have to take them off, so sure was I that someone was talking to me from the real world when it was just another NPC just out of sight.
While it’s hard to top the Arctis Pro, even Steelseries’ more affordable Arctis models, including the Arctis 3, 5, and 7, are impressive alternatives, identical to the Pro in terms of comfort and only a modest step down in performance and features (the Arctis 7 was our previous top pick, in fact). There are wired and wireless versions of each of these headsets, and while they require the Steelseries Engine 3 software to use the surround sound and EQ features (meaning these features are PC-only), they still sound great even without these extras. So, should the Arctis Pro reside outside your budget, any of these Arctis models could compete for the top spot on our list.